Local News Articles

2008 Report Card Reveals School System Meeting Necessary NCLB Benchmarks

November 10, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

The 2008 Report Card on the DeKalb County School System from the Tennessee Department of Education reveals that it is in "Good Standing" for No Child Left Behind AYP (Average Yearly Progress) status as every school in the system met the necessary benchmarks in all demographic subject areas as well as the additional indicators.

Dr. Carol Hendrix, Supervisor of Instruction for Grades 7-12., in a prepared statement, says "The 2008 Report Card reflects strong overall gains in student academic achievement. The DeKalb County School System is moving in the right path giving students the tools they need to succeed."

"There are a number of reasons that the system is improving year after year: Strong emphasis placed on quality instruction. Through federal programs, teachers are provided professional development helping teachers polish their skills."

"There is a continuous use of student data as a tool to track student progress and determine when focus is needed in particular areas. Teachers are able to identify when help is needed and put interventions in place."

"Each school is providing time for teachers to collaborate and share best practices as well as discuss specific needs of students and deficits in teaching and the curriculum."

"Through differentiated instruction, teachers are tailoring instruction to meet a variety of learning styles and level of understanding."

"Each school has developed a school improvement plan identifying areas of need and developed strategic plans to meet these needs."

"Development of strong parental involvement through various parent groups and programs."

"Quality after school and summer programs are in place to provide tutoring and enrichment activities to enhance student performance."

K-8 Non-Academic Indicators:
The school system average attendance for K-8 for 2008 was 94.1%, which is above the state goal of 93%

The promotion rate for 2008 was 98.8%, again above the state goal of 97%

9-12th grade Non-Academic Indicators:
The attendance rate for grades 9-12 was 93.3%, slightly higher compared to the state's attendance average of 93%

The graduation rate for DeKalb County High School is 83.4%, above the benchmark goal of 75% for the DeKalb County School System and above the state graduation rate which is 82.2%

The event dropout rate is 2.9%, significantly below the state goal of 5%.

K-8 Academic Indicators Math and Reading/Language:

Math 2008 Target 86%

DeKalb County exceeded the math target of 86% by 6% with a proficient and advanced average of 94%, which is 4% higher than 2007 and 3% higher than the state average.

Reading/Language 2008 Target 89%

DeKalb County exceeded the reading/language target of 89% by 4% with a proficient and advanced average of 93%, which is 3% higher than 2007 and 1% higher than the state average.

The most significant gains were realized in specific demographic groups with double digit gains in both math and reading/language

In math, students with disabilities gained 26% from 2007. Reading/Language revealed four demographic groups with double digit gains including Students with disabilities 15% gain, Hispanic 17% gain, African American 10%, and Limited English Proficient 12%.

9-12 Academic Indicator Math and Reading Language

No child Left Behind requires a separation of student achievement data by content area (Math and Reading/Language plus Writing) which identifies proficient and advanced percentages for grades 9-12. DeKalb County met AYP as well as increasing the advanced categories in both math and Reading Language.

Students with disabilities increased math proficient/advanced scores to 83% in 2008 from 68% in 2007.

Student Academic Achievement results for grades 3 to 8, show that the DeKalb County School System outperformed the state in all subject areas and made continuous gains from 2006 to 2008.

For 2008, DeKalb County earned an "A" in both Math and Reading/Language and Science and a "B" in Social Studies.

Actual 2008 scores were as follows: 61 in math, up from 59 in 2007; 58 in Reading/Language, up from 57 in 2007; 57 in Social Studies, up from 56 in 2007; and 61 in Science, up from 58 in 2007.

The DeKalb County School System outperformed the state in both 5th and 8th grade Writing Assessment for three years in a row while maintaining an A average each year.

For 2008, DeKalb County earned an "A" in 5th and 8th grade writing, the same as 2007 with scores of 4.3 in each category

DeKalb County High School improved on average ACT scores from 2007 to 2008 but fell slightly behind the state three year average.

The ACT results in grades 9-12 for 2008 (individual year) show that the composite score was 19.8, up from 19.3 last year; 20 in English, up from 19.3 in 2007, 18.2 in Math, up from 17.9 last year, 20.5 in Reading, up from 20.2; and 19.9 in Science/Reasoning, up from 19.5 last year. The 2008 state three year averages are 20.7 composite, 20.8 in English, 19.8 in Math, 21.1 in Reading, and 20.3 in Science/Reasoning.

DeKalb County High School received a 4.1 in writing assessment which was an A average in 2008, slightly below the state average.

The DeKalb County School System made great gains in value added on the grades (3-8) 2008 report card over the past three years. Value Added measures student progress within a grade and subject, and demonstrates the influence of in-school factors on student's achievement. Value added measures the impact the teacher and school have on student improvement/ability levels.

DeKalb County earned a B in math, up from a C last year, and an A in Reading/Language, Social Studies, and Science, the same grade as last year.

Math has an A average in grades 5th, 7th, and 8th
Reading/Language has an A average in grades 4th, 5th, 6th, and 8th
Social Studies has an A average in grades 4th, 5th, 7th, and 8th
Science has an A average in grades 4th, 5th, 7th and 8th.

The state set a predicted score of the high school Gateway and End of Course test which compare the school progress with the progress of students across the state. DeKalb County High School was at the state average or above average in all subject areas.

Math Algebra I: NDD (Not detectably different)
Science Biology: Above Average
English II: NDD
Math Foundations: NDD
English I: Above Average
Physical Science: Above Average
US History: NDD

Highlights of the 2008 report card on DeKalb Middle School are as follows:

The school met the No Child Left Behind Average Yearly Progress for 2008
In Math, all students scored above 2007 levels
In Reading/Language, all students scored above 2007 levels
All Achievement Scores were above last year's average
Highest Writing Assessment Scores in the county and were above the state average
In Value Added, Math students had an A average in 7th and 8th grade
In Reading/Language, students scored an A average in 6th and 8th grade
In Social Studies, students earned an A average in 7th and 8th grade
In Algebra I, 8th grade students scored above the state average
100% of the teachers were deemed highly qualified and the school had a 94.8% attendance rate

The report card on DeKalb West School reveals the following;

The school met the No Child Left Behind Average Yearly Progress for 2008
In Math, all students scored above the 2007 level
In Reading/Language, all students scored above the 2007 level
Students overall earn A's in both Academic Growth and Value Added in Math, Reading/Language, Social Studies, and Science
All subject were above the state averages
Students earned an A in both 5th and 8th grade in Writing Scores
In Value Added, students had A's in 4th, 5th, 6th, and 8th grade Math
Students earned an A in 4th, 5th, 6th, and 8th grade Reading/Language
Students in 4th, 5th, 7th, and 8th grade Social Studies scored A's
Science students scored A's in the 4th and 5th grade
100% of teachers were deemed highly qualified and the school met the attendance (94.8%) and promotion rates and were above the state averages.

Highlights of the report for Northside Elementary School are as follows:

The school met the No Child Left Behind Average Yearly Progress for 2008
In Math, all students scored above 2007 levels
All students in Reading/Language were above 2007 levels
Students in Math and Reading Language scored above state averages
All Achievement Scores were above last year's averages
Students earned an A average in the Writing Assessment Score exceeding the state average
In Value Added, students earned an A average in 5th grade Math.
In Reading/Language, students earned an A average in 4th and 5th grade
Social Studies students scored an A average in 5th grade
Science students earned an A average in 4th and 5th grade
100% of the teachers were deemed highly qualified and the school had the highest attendance rate in the county at 95.7%

The report card on DeKalb County High School reveals the following:

The school met the No Child Left Behind Average Yearly Progress for 2008
In Math, students scored the same as 2007, but exceeded the state average
Students earned an A in Writing Assessment for the year 2008
The ACT score was above the 2007 levels in composite, English, Math, Reading, Science/Reasoning.
Academic Growth was all average or above the state average
The graduation rate was 83.4% meeting the benchmark set for DeKalb County and exceeding the state graduation rate average 82.2%.

Based on the Average Daily Attendance in the DeKalb County Schools for 2008, the per pupil expenditure was $7,093, which is below the state average of $8,345.

Local funding is at 21% of the total system budget which is approximately one half of the 41.3% spent by the average school system in Tennessee.

Dr. Hendrix says "The DeKalb County School System is providing an education for all children while narrowing the gap that once existed between different demographic groups, providing students with the necessary tools to be successful. We are not exactly where we want to be, but we are certainly making progress in the right direction."

"The DeKalb County School System with the School Board, Director of Schools, Central Office Administration and staff, Principals, Teachers and all other personnel including cafeteria staff, custodial staff, educational assistants, secretaries/bookkeepers and bus drivers are meeting the challenge in providing quality service for the most valuable asset this county has, our children."

Smithville Man Charged with Making Harassing Telephone Calls to African-American Families

November 10, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department has charged a Smithville man with making harassing telephone calls to two African-American families in Alexandria.

58 year old Clessie George Jones also known as Bobby Jones of Fall Creek Drive, Smithville was charged Wednesday with four counts of telephone harassment.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says through an investigation, detectives found that Jones had called two African American families in Alexandria and had made threatening racial slurs to the callers. Jones was brought in for questioning by Sheriff's Detectives and he admitted to the offenses. Jones' bond was set at $4,000 and he will appear in court on November 20th.

Meanwhile, in other cases, deputies responded to Eckels Heights in Liberty to a domestic violence call on Monday, November 3rd.

Sheriff Ray says through an investigation by officers on the scene, 22 year old Shauna Faye Stringer of Alexandria Highway, Brush Creek was found to be intoxicated. Officers also learned that she had made up the allegation of domestic violence. Stringer was charged with public intoxication and her bond was set at $1,000. She will appear in court on November 20th.

22 year old Andrew Tyler Hall of East Main Street, Smithville was charged Tuesday, November 4th with driving under the influence after he was stopped for a traffic offense on Highway 56 South. Hall submitted to field sobriety tasks which he failed. He also refused a blood alcohol test. Hall's bond was set at $1,500 on the DUI and he was issued a citation for violation of the implied consent law. Hall will appear in court on December 4th.

York Settling into his Role as District Attorney General

November 10, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page
District Attorney General Randy York

District Attorney General Randy York is settling into his new job.

Governor Phil Bredesen, in September, appointed the Crossville attorney, as the District Attorney General in the 13th Judicial District. The vacancy was created by the resignation of William E. Gibson, which became effective in July. The 13th Judicial District is composed of Clay, Cumberland, DeKalb, Overton, Pickett, Putnam and White Counties.

York says he has completed the reorganization of the staff including the addition of Mark Tribble, who is working as an Assistant D.A. in DeKalb County replacing Bill Locke who has joined the D.A.'s staff in Warren County. "We're pretty much settled on everyone that we have so any changes that I was going to make, I've already made those. We've got a really good, competent staff and I look forward to working with them. Bill Locke is an excellent prosecutor. He is from McMinnville and he was driving from McMinnville to Cookeville everyday. And there was a prosecutor that was in McMinnville that's from Cookeville who was driving from Cookeville to McMinnville everyday. So we basically just swapped those around. That way Bill can stay home and work in his home county in Warren County and Mark Tribble who is from Cookeville has assumed the duties in DeKalb County and also in White County."

According to York, longtime assistant D.A. Ben Fann will be retiring next month and he will be replaced by Bob Ramsey. "Ben will be leaving effective December 31st. He's been a great prosecutor for many years. He's retiring and we wish him the best. We'll all miss him. There's also a young prosecutor that was here in our office that did work in DeKalb County occasionally, Mr. Mark Gore. He has decided that he wanted to go into private practice and he has done that here in Cookeville. I brought two people with me that I practiced law with in Crossville, Bob Ramsey, who has a DeKalb County connection. Both of his children live in DeKalb County and so he will be working with Mark Tribble when he comes on the staff. Ramsey will fill Ben Fann's slot, starting on January 1st. In the meantime, Allison Watson, who I've worked with for 16 years will be working as well."

York says while he will be an active D.A., he will not micro-manage each case. He also hopes that the public will view him as a fair and reasonable district attorney general. "I hope I can describe myself as being fair. Someone who is reasonable. I think you have to look at each case individually and people who violate the law need to go to jail. Lots of the times, the biggest justice is to make sure that you don't indict somebody. Sometimes there's just false accusations. The power of the prosecutor and the power to indict is an awesome power and It's humbling. It's something that should be guarded and protected. But the people that need to go to jail, that's where I want to put them. I'd like to be hands on as a prosecutor, but I don't want to micro-manage each and every case. I certainly want to be involved and know what's going on in all of the counties but I don't pretend to try to manage each and every case that occurs."

One of the problems York found when he took office was a huge backlog of paper records that had never been properly filed away. York says a lot of progress has been made addressing that problem. "We're making an active attempt now to make sure that all the records are properly filed and properly kept and those records that we don't need anymore will be properly shredded. I think that under Tennessee law, we have to make an attempt and we have to be very guarded to make sure that people's social security numbers, dates of birth, criminal histories, and that type of thing are protected. All of that information, as it becomes stale, will be shredded and discarded appropriately."

York says while the position is somewhat different than what he imagined, he is looking forward to serving the district and encourages people to contact his office if they have a concern. "It's been different. It's amazing to see what's happening across the district. You know, being a defense lawyer you only see one side of it. But as a prosecutor, it's interesting to see how the entire process comes together. I'm really looking forward to continuing in this position and if there's a problem or anything like that, if somebody knows something, I would encourage them to contact my office. We really want to try to do the very best job that we can possibly do. So if there's a problem, I want to try to deal with it."

York is married to the former Judy Dodd of Liberty.

Tramel Residence Destroyed by Fire on New Home Road

November 9, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page
House Fire on New Home Road
Firefighter Battles House Fire on New Home Road (Photo by Callie Matthews)

An early Sunday morning fire destroyed the residence of Shelia Tramel at 4296 New Home Road.

County Fire Chief Donny Green says a neighbor spotted the fire and called 911 around 7:13 a.m. Members of the Short Mountain Highway, Keltonburg, Blue Springs and Main Stations responded along with a tanker truck, the Sheriff's Department, and DeKalb EMS.

No one was at home when the fire started.

Chief Green says Tramel had left home around 5:30 a.m. to go to work in Murfreesboro. Three other members of the family who lived there were also away from home when the fire started.

The cause is undetermined, but Chief Green says it appears to have started in the kitchen area.

No one was injured but a cat perished in the fire.

(Bottom photo by Callie Matthews)

Tigers Defeat McMinn Central 28-14 in State Play-Offs

November 7, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Tigers won their first ever State football play-off game with a 28-14 victory over the McMinn Central Chargers at Englewood Friday night.

The Tigers, now 9-2, will advance in the State Play-offs next Friday night to play Whitehouse while McMinn Central's season comes to an end at 9-2.

The Tigers got the ball to start the game but turned it over on an interception, and three plays later, McMinn Central scored on a 30 yard quarterback sweep by Zack Rayle. Jamin Godfrey converted on the P.A.T. and the Chargers led 7-0 with 10:43 left in the first period.

DeKalb County mounted an 80 yard scoring drive on their next possession, aided by a face mask and a pass interception penalty on McMinn Central for a total of 30 yards. On 4th and 8 , Abram Edwards caught a 10 yard touchdown pass from Quarterback Hunter Poteete. Zach Taylor converted on the P.A.T. and the Tigers tied the game at 7-7 with 3:23 left in the first period.

On the ensuing kick-off, Josh Moss for McMinn Central returned the ball 90 yards for a touchdown. Godfrey converted on the P.A.T. and the Chargers led 14-7 with 3:12 left in the first quarter.

DeKalb County answered on another scoring drive. Matthew Lawrence caught an 8 yard touchdown pass from Quarterback Poteete. Zach Taylor converted the P.A.T. and the Tigers tied the game at 14-14 with 1:42 left in the first quarter.

The score at the end of the first period was 14 to 14.

McMinn Central threatened twice in the second period but could not score. The Chargers, on a first and goal at the Tiger two yard line, went three and out. The Chargers attempted a field goal with 5:02 left in the second quarter but Jamin Godfrey's kick was wide left.

After picking off a DeKalb County pass, McMinn Central started a drive at the Tiger 35 yard line. The Chargers drove to the 29 yard line, but on a 4th and 4 play, Quarterback Zack Rayle fumbled the ball and DeKalb County recovered to stop the drive.

The score remained tied 14-14 at half time.

Neither team scored in the third quarter and the game remained tied at 14-14 as the fourth quarter began.

The Tigers took their first lead of the ballgame with 8:38 left in the fourth period on a 20 yard touchdown pass play from Quarterback Hunter Poteete to J.J. Herriott. Zach Taylor converted on the P.A.T. and DeKalb County led 21-14.

DeKalb County expanded the lead on a 5 yard touchdown run by Matthew Lawrence with 1:08 left in the game. Zach Taylor converted on the P.A.T. and the Tigers led 28-14

The final, DeKalb County wins 28-14.

DeKalb County Trustee Mails Out Property Tax Statements

November 7, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page
DeKalb County Trustee Sean Driver

The DeKalb County Trustee's office mailed out the 2008 DeKalb County property tax statements Thursday.

DeKalb County Trustee Sean Driver says tax payers have until February 28th, 2009 to pay their tax bill. "Our tax notices have gone out, as of Thursday, November 6th. We had a time getting them in this year with the state being a little behind but we've got them ready to go. They are due and payable right now through February 28th, 2009. We are ready to go. Our computers are set up and ready to go with everything that involves collecting taxes."

Driver says those who still need to pay their 2007 property tax bill may do so at the Trustee's office in the courthouse. "I still have in the Trustee's Office the 2007 taxes and I will turn those over to the Chancery Court on April 1st, 2009. You can pay all of those taxes if you still need to pay those through that date. Of course, with the 2007 taxes, they are accruing a one and a half percent penalty per month if they're late."

Seniors, be sure to check with the office on the state tax relief program. Income limit for 2008 is $24,790 for single or combined household incomes.

Trustee Driver says Tennessee's tax relief program is a state-funded program that provides a rebate of credit for all or a portion of the property taxes on residential property owned and occupied by low-income elderly, low-income disabled, and disabled veteran homeowners and their surviving spouses. "There are a few changes for the elderly and disabled homeowners. That being the income limit which is set by the state of Tennessee. For DeKalb County, the 2007 combined income limit, whether sole owner or co-owner, is $24,790. That includes social security benefits, any kind of bank interest, retirement and pension, any kind of veteran's benefits, or any kind of income you may have drawn in 2007."

"With elderly homeowners, you must be age 65 or older before December 31st, 2008. The law requires us to provide evidence of that age, whether it be through a driver's license, birth certificate, or marriage license. You must own this property to get tax relief and be under the income limit for eligibility."

"For disabled homeowners, the same stipulations apply as for the elderly homeowners, except for disability, we must have acceptable evidence of disability, that being a current letter dated for 2008 that specifies the type of benefits that you receive. You have to be 100% disabled as deemed by the Social Security Administration or another agency."

"With disabled veterans and widows or widowers, you must be 100% total and permanently disabled. That being through a service connected disability. That'll be deemed by the Veteran's Administration. We have a form to fill out to send to the Veteran's Administration so they can see that you are trying to apply for tax relief. They will then let the state or tax relief program know that you do qualify as being 100% total and permanently disabled."

"For disabled veterans and widows, income is irrelevant. I think that's tremendous since our service people have served our country so well."

" Let me mention something about deadlines. When you receive your tax cards and want to apply for tax relief. If you think you meet the requirements, you can bring in your tax bill. Here's the way tax relief works in our Trustee's office. Let's say your taxes are $200. You will pay that $200 in full and we will send your application to the state to see if you are accepted and meet the requirements. This year our county is offering $91 for tax relief. You will be reimbursed the first time that $91. We'll automatically give you that tax relief year after year, but for the first time you will be reimbursed the amount of tax relief back to your home. But on the first when you pay your tax, we will take in the total amount of tax and then send your application to the state and wait for approval. So anytime between now and April 6th, 2009 you can sign up for tax relief. The state allows 35 days after our last day to collect taxes, which is February 28th, 2009. So April 6th is the last day to sign up for tax relief for 2008"

Eligibility requirements for Elderly Homeowners are as follows:

Must be 65 or older on or before December 31st, 2008
Must provide evidence of age (i.e. driver's license, birth certificate, marriage license)
Must own and use the property on which you are applying as your primary residence
Qualified applicants will receive property tax relief on the first $25,000 of their property's market value.
According to the deed of the property, Must have records of the combined 2007 income of all owners of the property not exceeding $24,790. Income (i.e. social security, SSI pension, etc)

Eligibility requirements for Disabled Homeowners are as follows:

Must have been totally and permanently disabled as rated by the Social Security Administration or any other qualified agency on or before December 31st, 2008
Must provide evidence of age (i.e. driver's license, birth certificate, marriage license)
Must own and use the property on which you are applying as your primary residence
Must have records of the combined 2007 income of all owners of the property not exceeding $24,790

Eligibility requirements for Disabled Veteran Homeowners and/or widow or widower:

Must own and use the property on which you are applying as your primary residence.
Your disability must meet one of the following categories:
A service-connected disability that resulted in (1) Paraplegia, (2) Permanent paralysis of both legs and lower part of the body resulting from traumatic injury or disease to the spinal cord or brain, (3) Loss or loss of use of, two or more limbs, and (4) Legal blindness.

A total and permanent disability rating from a service-connected disability

A 100% total and permanent disability rating from being a prisoner of war.

The Veteran's Administration Office determines eligibility from the applicant's information in the Trustee's Office forwarded to the State of Tennessee.

If you meet these requirements you may apply in the Trustee's Office as soon as you receive your property tax bill. The deadline to apply is 35 days after February 28th, 2009 or April 6th, 2009.

If you have any additional questions concerning the tax relief program, come by the Trustee's office in the courthouse or call 597-5176.

Firefighters Battle Thursday Wildland Fire

November 7, 2008
Wildland Fire

The DeKalb County Fire Department was called to a reported forest fire on Ponder Road near Center Hill Lake Thursday.

According to Lieutenant Brad Mullinax, when fire units arrived, they discovered about 10 acres of wildland was burning. DeKalb 911 also dispatched members of the Tennessee Division of Forestry to assist in controlling the fire.

The fire was in a remote location and no structures were in immediate danger. Firefighters worked vigorously for about 4 hours before finally containing the blaze which, by then, had burned approximately 20 acres.

The DeKalb County Fire Department responded with its brush truck and an engine from the Main Station. Due to the large extent of the fire, volunteers from across the county were called in to assist.

Police Stop Smithville Man for Speeding and Find Marijuana

November 7, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

A 40 year old Smithville man faces drug charges after recently being stopped by police for speeding

David Leon Pirtle of Gentry Avenue is charged with possession of a schedule VI controlled substance for sale and delivery. His bond is $25,000 and he will be in court on the charge November 13th.

In his report, Officer Matt Holmes states that "On October 30th on Highway 146, Pirtle was stopped for speeding. After Pirtle pulled into his driveway on Gentry Avenue, Officer Holmes approached the vehicle and saw Pirtle pushing something in his pants. Officer Holmes claims he asked Pirtle what he had in his pants and Pirtle pulled out a plastic bag containing one ounce of marijuana. A box of sandwich bags was also found in the vehicle. In addition to the box of Glad sandwich bags and marijuana, Officer Holmes also found scales.

Meanwhile, 28 year old Joseph Lovell of King Ridge Road was charged with driving on a suspended license on October 30th. His bond is $1,000 and he will be in court November 13th.

Officer Matt Holmes, in his report, states that on October 30th on Highway 70, Lovell was operating a motor vehicle and was stopped for a seat belt violation. A computer check revealed his license was suspended.

41 year old Billy Wayne Neal of Morse College Road was charged with driving under the influence on Saturday, November 1st. His bond is $1,000 and he will be in court on November 13th,

Officer Scott Davis reports that on November 1st at the Hardees parking lot, Neal was passed out behind the wheel of a vehicle. He had an odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person and he was unsteady on his feet. He performed poorly on all field sobriety tasks and be blew a .132 on a breathalyzer test.

Jonathan A. Bright of Hendersonville was charged with assault last Saturday. His bond is $1,000. Officer Travis Bryant reports that on Saturday, November 1st at 104 Windham Street, Bright assaulted a 17 year old boy by jumping out of his vehicle and hitting him several times in the face and head with his fists, causing the juvenile to need emergency treatment. After the assault, Bright got in his vehicle and left.

32 year old Fernando Ortega of Atnip Street was charged recently with no drivers license and cited for excessive noise, and for no registration and no insurance.

Officer Matt Farmer reports that Ortega was stopped on Short Mountain Street for excessive noise. Upon speaking with him, Ortega advised that he did not have a license. A computer check revealed that he has no license and only had an I.D.

Alderman Sullivan to Present Resolution on Public Comments at City Council Meetings

November 6, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

Smithville Alderman Tonya Sullivan is introducing a resolution to establish procedures for city residents to speak at city board meetings.

The proposed resolution may be discussed at the next city council meeting on Monday, November 17th at 7:00 p.m. at city hall.

Alderman Sullivan says this resolution will provide and insure the following: Citizens will have three minutes to voice their concerns on any matter, citizens will have an opportunity to be heard before votes are cast by speaking at the beginning of the meeting, the "comments by citizens" session will be a part of the agenda, so that your voice will be heard. "I have a responsibility to the citizens of Smithville to establish a process for their voice to be heard. This resolution, if passed, will insure that citizens can speak on issues before the board votes. In the past, the board hasn't heard from the citizens until the end of the meeting and votes have already been cast. This resolution will benefit the public and the board. This has been a long time coming and is a much needed resolution. This resolution is to insure that the citizens of Smithville are always heard. I invite you to call the mayor and your aldermen and express your concerns. I encourage your attendance at the November 17th meeting and I will continue to be your voice. I will continue to stand up for you and I will continue to do my best for the city. Please, don't be silenced. Let your voice be heard. Contact the mayor's office and your city alderman and encourage them to vote for this resolution."

The proposed resolution states that " Whereas, in our system of representative government, the Mayor and City Board members are charged with the responsibility of informing themselves and making sound decisions that affect the lives of the citizens of Smithville; and

Whereas, it is a commonly accepted practice in Tennessee cities to provide an opportunity for citizens input, as part of the board meetings so long as such comments are not permitted to degenerate into debates between citizens and the Mayor or board members; and

Whereas, it is the desire of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen of the City of Smithville that citizens be provided the opportunity to make comments at board meetings in accordance with established procedures; and

Now, therefore, be it resolved:

Citizens of the City of Smithville are hereby authorized to make comments at the beginning of each regular or special called meeting of the board, in accordance with the following:

The person desiring to speak should rise, address the Chair, and when recognized, state their name and address. Only residents of the City of Smithville shall be allowed to speak during the "comments by citizens" part of the board's agenda, unless requested to do so by the board.

After providing the required information, the person shall be allowed to speak for three minutes on any matter of concern to the citizen.

All citizens comments shall be directed to the Mayor. The Mayor may address questions to individual aldermen, but in no event will the citizen be permitted to call names, question the integrity or motive of individual aldermen, or make personal or derogatory comments.

It is the responsibility of the Mayor to maintain order at city board meetings."

Alderman Sullivan says "the citizens depend on the mayor and aldermen to conduct business in a fair and just manner. Listening to the citizens should always be our business."

DeKalb Foster Children's Fund Seeks Support

November 6, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

With the holiday season fast approaching, the Department of Children's Services is planning a visit from Santa for DeKalb County children in foster care.

Friends of DeKalb County Foster Children urge you to remember that not all children this Christmas will take part in a celebration with their own families. Children who have lived in an abusive or neglectful home will be sharing Christmas with their foster family, and for many, this means with strangers. Often these children wonder if Santa Clause has their new address, or whether or not he will bring them any gifts this year.

While the department is able to provide for everyday needs of children in state custody, there are not enough funds available to purchase Christmas gifts and for other special occasions such as birthdays and graduations. For this reason, foster care Christmas depends on the generosity of the general public.

Annette Greek, Treasurer for the DeKalb County Foster Children's Fund, says your support is needed for the 40 children from DeKalb County now in foster care. If you or your organization would be willing to help these children by providing a monetary donation, please make checks payable to "DeKalb County Foster Children Fund" and mail to: DeKalb County Foster Children Fund, Attention: Annette Greek, 400 West Public Square, Smithville, Tennessee 37166.

Greek says she will be glad to accept your cash donation at Webb's Drug Store.

Greek says since the ages of these foster children vary, a cash donation is preferable to gifts.

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